BY NKECHI NAECHE—-Contributors under under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and various labour unions in the country have condemned the deliberate attempt by the National Pension Commission (PenCom) not to open the transfer window platform that will enable pension contributors and retirees change their Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) when they feel dissatisfied with service rendered.
Fourteen years after the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), the Commission is finding it difficult to open the transfer window platform.
This means that the Commission has failed to implement its own law, precisely Section 13 and Section 106 subsection 1 to 4 of the Pension Reform Act 2004 as repealed by PRA 2014.The Pension Reform Act 2004 as repealed by PRA 2014 stipulates that a contributor will be allowed to move his or her RSA account from one PFA to another in not more than once in a year.
But the law is yet to be implemented by PenCom 14 years after the enactment of the PRA 2004.
Section 13 states that subject to guideline issued by the Commission, a holder of a RSA maintained under the Act may not more than once in a year transfer his account from one PFA to another.
Section 106 stipulates that an employee or beneficiary of a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holder who is dissatisfied with a decision of the PFA or employer respect of pension matters under this Bill, may request, in writing, that such decisions be reviewed by PenCom with a view to ensuring that such decision is made in accordance with the provisions of this Bill or any regulations made.
It further stated that a copy of any request under subsection (1) shall be served on the relevant PFA or employee.
The Commission shall in reviewing a request of a PFA or employer conduct its proceedings in such a manner as to avoid delay.
Where either party is dissatisfied with the decision of the Commission on any matter referred to it, such party may refer the matter to arbitration in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act or to the National Industrial Court.
Insider sources however told who spoke with journalists under the condition of anonymity revealed that the Pension Application System (PASS) that is meant to digitalise the pension industry and allow the transfer window to be opened has been put aside by the new administration of PenCom.
One the contributors who spoke on the ground of anonymity said the transfer window was billed to takeoff June 1, 2018 but all the processes put in place to ensure that the window is opened has been put away.
He said the new management are considering starting the process all over again rather than continue with the processes that were on ground.
Meanwhile, contributors and retirees have cried out to the Federal Government to intervene and relieve them of what they describe being in bondage to PFAs.
A contributor, Mr Adebayo Mattew lamented that his PFA, name withheld has continued to serve him poorly.
He said he want to change but he is trapped with the PFA as they told him that he neither collect his contributions nor change to another PFA.
Similarly, a retiree, Mrs Ogechi Ezewanta said her PFA refuse to send her statement account with them, failed to transfer her on time to her chosen insurer for the annuity plan she opted for after every retirement.
She believes that if retirees and contributors are allowed to change their PFA to another, the PFAs will improve on their services, bearing in mind that they can be dump at anytime.
Source close to TUC also said they had expected that the transfer window would have opened last year but with the removal of the former DG the takeoff was suspended by the PenCom without any reason.
But he assured that the various labour and trade unions groups are in discussion with the leadership of PenCom to ensure the transfer window is realized soonest.